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CARBS Business Review

Is Tourism In Pakistan Headed Towards A Roadblock Or A Reanimate?

Khurram Shahzad

02 May, 2023

Is Tourism In Pakistan Headed Towards A Roadblock Or A Reanimate

Tourism is renowned for its significant contributions to various sectors of the national economy. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) categorizes tourism as an “industry” due to its impact on twelve economic sectors, including lodging and food services, transportation (rail, road, water, air), travel and tour agencies, cultural events and activities, sports and recreation, and trade in country-specific tourism goods and services. Additionally, tourism plays a vital role in supporting small businesses and attracting private and foreign investments to a region.


In the past two decades, the global tourism industry has experienced substantial growth. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) annual report in 2021, tourism contributes 6.1 percent to the total GDP worldwide. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s tourism industry has been affected by terrorism following 9/11, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted its growth and development. The crucial question now is whether Pakistan’s tourism industry will rebound or face challenges.


Before the onset of COVID-19, the industry had been witnessing consistent and promising year-on-year growth. In 2019, the tourism industry contributed 5.9% to the GDP, which declined to 3.7% in 2021. Similarly, the industry’s contribution to employment in Pakistan decreased from 6.2% in 2019 to 5.1% in 2021, as reported by the WTTC annual reports.


Encouragingly, Pakistan has made progress on the international travel and tourism development index, ranking 83rd out of 117 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2022 report. In the previous edition published in 2019, Pakistan was ranked 89th.


With its stunning landscapes, Mughal architecture, ancient civilizations, snow-capped mountains, lakes, breathtaking valleys, deserts, and beautiful beaches, Pakistan holds immense potential for tourism. Additionally, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be leveraged to promote tourism.


To revitalize the tourism industry in Pakistan, government officials and relevant tourism departments need to focus on tourist destinations. Improving infrastructure and implementing appropriate regulations for affordable facilities, including accommodation, transportation, and food availability, are crucial. Federal and provincial governments should work together to foster a culture of tourism.


This is the opportune time for Pakistan to revive its tourism industry by implementing measures and engaging all stakeholders, such as civil society, media, and the hotel industry. To this end, significant efforts are required from the government, media, and civil society to promote a positive and peaceful image of the country through social media and other channels, thereby establishing Pakistan as a tourist-friendly destination.

Khurram Shahzad

Khurram Shahzad is Associate Professor at Forman Christian College Lahore. He has over 20 years of teaching experience in reputed educational institutions such as Lahore Garrison university, University of Lahore and Punjab group of colleges.



Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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